|Publication number||US8590348 B1|
|Application number||US 13/285,607|
|Publication date||26 Nov 2013|
|Filing date||31 Oct 2011|
|Priority date||31 Oct 2011|
|Publication number||13285607, 285607, US 8590348 B1, US 8590348B1, US-B1-8590348, US8590348 B1, US8590348B1|
|Inventors||Johan Skjellerup, Eddie L. Stenild|
|Original Assignee||Braebum Asset Holdings, LLC., Es Holding Dragoer Aps|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (92), Classifications (16), Legal Events (2)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention relates to a security tag assembly or system comprising a base and an attachment member removably securable to various types of merchandise. In particular, the security tag assembly comprises a locking assembly structured to restrict unauthorized removal of the tag assembly from the merchandise and a release assembly cooperatively structured to release the locking assembly upon contact with a detachment assembly.
2. Description of the Related Art
Security or anti-theft tags are extensively used in the retail merchandising industry as well as numerous other areas of commerce. In typical fashion, such devices are attached to various types of merchandise in such a manner that that they are clearly obvious by one examining the merchandise. Common knowledge of the use and operation of such devices is believed to prevent or at least restrict the theft or other unauthorized removal of merchandise from the retail outlet or other area being monitored. More specifically, it is believed that such security tag devices serve as a deterrent to unauthorized removal in that a potential thief will recognize that the merchandise will be “stained” or otherwise marked, thereby rendering the merchandise useless, upon forced removal of the security tag. Alternatively the tag may be structured to activate an alarm system as the merchandise, incorporating the tag thereon, passes through a monitoring station typically located at the exits to the retail establishment.
Due to the popularity of security or anti-theft devices of the type described above, numerous attempts have been made to design and structure a device which not only serves as a deterrent against theft, but which includes structural features intended to overcome any attempt to defeat the device which may be applied by an experienced thief. In addition, the structure of such security devices should be such as to be easily secured to and removed from different types of articles such that a device of substantially standard structure can be used to monitor and protect various types of merchandise.
As set forth above known security or anti-theft tags are intended to provide some indication which either renders the merchandise useless or alternatively signals an attempted unauthorized removal.
While popular, it is recognized that a significant number of the anti-theft tags currently being utilized include problems or disadvantages which render them less than totally efficient. More specifically, wide spread knowledge of the structural features of such security tags allows unauthorized personnel to develop techniques which are specifically designed to remove the tag from the merchandise in a manner which defeats the aforementioned indicator structures. Therefore it is not uncommon for a skilled or experienced thief to develop tools or techniques to remove the merchandise from the area being monitored without damage to the stolen article or activation of an alarm or monitoring system.
Accordingly there is a recognized need in the security industry for a security system incorporating an anti-theft device preferably in the form of a relatively small security tag assembly which efficiently connects to various types of merchandise and which is specifically structured to overcome known techniques to remove or otherwise defeat such devices. Moreover, such protective structural features should be compatible with an efficient tag construction and configuration. Therefore, a security tag manufacture or provider to can effectively “customize” a proposed indicator assembly to include various “theft indicating” devices, electronic signaling devices or a combination thereof, while not requiring a restructuring or redesign of the entire tag assembly or the remaining, basic operable components associated therewith.
The present invention is directed to a security tag assembly structured to restrict unauthorized removal of a product or merchandise item from a store or other designated area. In particular, the security tag assembly of the various embodiments disclosed herein includes a base and a tag or attachment member. The base comprises a locking assembly which is disposed therein, preferably in an inaccessible location, and is structured to be biased into a locking orientation. The tag or attachment member comprises an elongated connector pin structured and disposed to pass through the merchandise (e.g., clothing or other garments) and into a locking position with the locking assembly disposed within the base.
In addition, the tag assembly of the invention disclosed herein further includes a release assembly disposed within the base and structured for movable disposition upon contact by an externally applied detachment assembly. Specifically, the release assembly of a preferred embodiment includes a first, outer portion disposed in a surrounding, at least partially concentric relation to a second, inner portion. For instance, the first and second portions are disposed in an interlocked yet movable relation relative to one another such that movement of the first, outer ring or member causes the second, inner ring or member to also move. However, the cooperative dimensions and interconnection of the first and second members causes the second, inner member to move in a different direction than the first, outer member.
Specifically, upon disposition of an externally applied detachment assembly into contact with the first, outer member (e.g., on an aligned and sloped receiving channel), the first member is thereby disposed in at least partially rotational movement (due to the sloped configuration of the receiving channel and the linear movement of the detachment assembly in contact therewith). In addition, due to the configuration of preferably angularly disposed mating surfaces between the interlocked first and second members, upon a rotational disposition of the first member, the second member is disposed into an outwardly displacing engagement with at least a portion of the locking assembly, the displacing engagement being sufficient to dispose the locking assembly out of said locking orientation relative to the connector member.
These and other objects, features and advantages of the present invention will become clearer when the drawings as well as the detailed description are taken into consideration.
For a fuller understanding of the nature of the present invention, reference should be had to the following detailed description taken in connection with the accompanying drawings in which:
Like reference numerals refer to like parts throughout the several views of the drawings.
As shown in the accompanying drawings, the present invention is directed towards a security tag assembly, generally indicated as 10, comprising at least one base 12 and at least one attachment or tag member 14. However, a practical application of the present invention would typically involve a plurality of bases 12 and a plurality of attachment or tag members 14, such as when a plurality of different products are being protected and/or monitored. Moreover, the security tag assembly 10 is of the type structured to be removably secured to various types of merchandise M so as to prevent unauthorized removal of the merchandise M from a given area or location. Typical applications for the security tag assembly 10 of the present invention include the interconnecting of one base 12 and any one of a plurality of attachment or tag members 14 to merchandise M being protected. As such, removal of the security tag assembly 10 from its operative position can be quickly and easily accomplished by authorized personnel using approved techniques or hardware. To the contrary, separation of the base 12 and the attachment member 14 from the operative position and the protected merchandise M is extremely difficult when attempted by unauthorized personnel.
In order to maintain a secure interconnection between the base 12 and the one or more attachment members 14, the attachment member 14 is provided with a connector member, generally indicated as 22, which, in at least one embodiment, comprises an elongated connector pin or like structure 24. The length of the connector member 22 is sufficient to extend outwardly from the attachment member 14 so as to engage and be properly connected to the base 12.
Cooperative structuring of each of the plurality of bases includes a passage or channel comprising a proximal end or opening 30 (at least partially illustrated in
Additional structural features of the present invention include the provision of a locking assembly, generally indicated as 36. The locking assembly 36 is disposed on or preferably within the interior of the base 12, such as between end caps 16 and 18 of base 12, and/or at least in communication with opening 30 so as to be disposed in receiving relation to the connector member 22. Therefore, as the connector pin is disposed into its connected, operative orientation relative to the base 12, it will pass through open end 30 (best illustrated in
In particular, the locking assembly 36 of the various embodiments of the present invention may include, for example, a plurality of locking members, such as ball-type locking members 41, disposed at least partially on the interior of a retention casing 42. In addition, a biasing member 43 serves to bias the locking members 41 and/or the retention casing 42 in a confronting, locking engagement with the exterior of the connector member 22 and thereby assume a locking orientation of the locking assembly 36. In particular, as shown in
Referring again to
As will be described in greater detail hereinafter, the release assembly 50 comprises at least one, but more practically, a plurality of receiving channels, openings or passages, generally referenced as 62, which, as will be apparent from the following discussion, are utilized to facilitate the authorized release of the tag or attachment member 14 from the base 12, and disposition of the locking assembly 36 out of the locking orientation. Such authorized release and/or removal of the tag member 14 can be accomplished by utilization of an authorized, externally applied detachment assembly, generally referenced as 80. As described in greater detail herein, the detachment assembly 80 includes at least one, but preferably a plurality of at least two detachment members 82.
Particularly, in at least one embodiment, the release assembly 50 comprises at least two members or portions, such as a first, outer member 61 and a second inner member 71. Although first and second members 61, 71 may be integrally connected to one another as a single piece, in the preferred embodiment the two members 61, 71 are separate structures. In any event, the first and second members 61, 71 are joined or otherwise disposed in a movable, interlocked relation with one another such that movement of the first, outer member 61 causes the second, inner member to also move, as will be described hereinafter.
Specifically, in the embodiment illustrated in
More in particular, as described briefly above, the first or outer member 61 comprises at least one, but preferably a plurality of receiving channels 62 structured for engagement with an externally applied detachment assembly 80. Specifically, the first member 61 is structured for movable and/or rotational disposition in a first, rotational direction (indicated, for example, by directional arrow D1 in
To illustrate the angular or sloped orientation of the contact surface 62′ of receiving channel 62, refer to
As acute angle “A” illustrated in
Furthermore, the interlocked, mating surfaces 64, 74 of first and second members 61, 71 respectively, are structured to dispose the second member 71 in a direction D2 different than direction D1, and into a displacing engagement with at least a portion of the locking assembly 36. In at least one embodiment, direction D2, which indicates or represents the direction of travel of second member 71, is directed in a substantially opposite direction than direction D1′, which indicates or represents the direction of travel of the detachment member(s) 82. In particular, the displacing engagement of the second member 71 is sufficient to dispose the locking assembly 36 out of the locking orientation relative to the connector member 22 such that the attachment or tag member 14 may be easily removed from the base 12, and the tag assembly may be disconnected or disengaged from the merchandise M. Specifically, the displacing engagement of at least one embodiment is structured to dispose the locking assembly 36 and retention casing 42 against the force of the biasing member 43 so as to dislodge the frictional or forceful engagement of the locking member(s) 41 with the connector member 22.
In at least one embodiment, as best illustrated in
Additional structural features of at least one embodiment include a restriction assembly, generally referenced as 90, disposed in a restriction engaging relation the with the second, inner member 71 and being structured to restrict rotational movement of the second member 71. Specifically, upon rotational movement of the first, outer member 61 (e.g., upon contact of the detachment assembly 80 with the receiving channel(s) 62), due to the interlocked relation between the first and second members 61, 71, the second member 71 may initially tend or want to move in the same direction as the first member 61. The restriction assembly 90, however, is structured to restrict such movement of the second, inner member 71, and thereby cause the second member 71 to be disposed in the displacing engagement (e.g., along direction D2) with the locking assembly 36 by virtue of the cooperatively structured and sloped mating surfaces 64, 74.
In particular, the restriction assembly 90 of at least one embodiment comprises at least one, but more practically, a plurality of restriction members 92 and cooperatively structured restriction channels 94 (best shown in
The entire series of movements disposing the locking assembly 36 from the locked orientation to the unlocked or released orientation is accomplished by movement of the detachment member(s) 82 in a single direction D1′. The single direction D1′ of at least one embodiment is in an opposing direction D2 of the movement enjoyed by the second, inner member 71 which disengages the locking assembly 36 from its locked orientation relative to the connector member 2. This allows for a simple and quick disconnection of the attachment member 14 from the base 12 with an authorized detachment assembly 80.
In order to further facilitate the authorized release of the tag member 14 from the base 12, due to the interaction of the attachment assembly 80 with the release assembly 50, the base 12 of at least one embodiment further includes an access assembly 52 comprising a plurality of access openings 54. Each of the plurality of access openings 54 is disposed in communicating relation with the interior portion of the base 12. In addition, at least some of the access openings 54 are disposed in an at least partially aligned relation with one or more the receiving channels 62 of the first, outer member 61. In particular, the access openings 54 of at least one embodiment are at least partially aligned with the sloped or angled surface 62′ of the receiving channels 62. As a result of such at least partial alignment, the passage of the detachment member 82 through access openings 54 will result in at least a portion (e.g., the end tip) of the detachment member 82 coming into interacting, confronting, engagement or contact with the first member 61, and in particular, the sloped or angled surface 62′ of the receiving channel 62. As described above, such contact results in a rotational movement or disposition of the first member 61 in a first direction D1, thereby causing the second member 71 to be disposed in an outward direction D2 (toward the detachment member 82) and releasing the locking assembly 36 from the locking orientation relative to the connector member 22.
Additional structural features of the tag assembly 10 of the present invention include an alignment assembly, generally referenced at 55. The alignment assembly extends at least partially or completely about the indicated exterior, accessible portion of the base 12. Moreover, the alignment assembly 55 is disposed, dimensioned and configured to be correctly oriented in a detachment assembly 80. More specifically, the alignment assembly 55 includes an exterior surface 56 having a predetermined configuration and/or dimension to be received within a receiving assembly 84 associated with the detachment assembly 80.
In operation, the upper portion or upper end cap 16 of the base 12 passed along or into a trough or like receiving area 85. When so disposed, the predetermined exterior surface 56 of the alignment assembly 55 will be forced into a “correct” or predetermined alignment with the receiving ledge, lip or flange 84. The predetermined surface configuration 56 cooperates with the dimension or configuration of the lip or flange 84 so as to properly align the access assembly 52, and in particular, the access opening(s) 54, with the plurality of detachment members 82 (not illustrated in
To further facilitate the alignment of at least some of the plurality of access openings 54 with the detachment members 82, the detachment assembly 80 may comprise one or more locking devices 87, for example, disposed within receiving area or channel 85. In particular, the locking device 87 may act as a push-button or automatically retractable flange which is structured to automatically retract upon contact with the tag assembly 10 as the tag assembly 10 slides or moves through channel 85 toward ledge 84. Once the tag assembly 10 clears or otherwise passes the locking device 87 such that one or more access openings 54 are aligned with the detachment members 82, the locking device 87 will be disengaged by the tag assembly 10 and be disposed in an outward, blocking orientation relative to the tag assembly 10. Accordingly, the tag assembly 10 will be locked within the detachment assembly 80 and at least one, but more practically two access openings 54 are aligned with the detachment members 82. Thus, upon actuation of the detachment assembly 80 such that the detachment members penetrate the access openings 54, as described above, the base 12 and attachment member 14 may be easily removed from one another.
Further with regard to
The various embodiments of the present invention may further include an alarm activating assembly, generally referenced as 95, and may include, for example, the provision of a coil or other structure which includes alarm activating capabilities and/or radio frequency signaling capabilities. As such, the alarm activating assembly is preferably disposed within the interior of the base 12 and in a non-accessible location. Other similar devices may be utilized, including devices comprising data storage capabilities (e.g. to provide inventory, purchase, location, origin of supplier or manufacturer, or other merchandise data) and/or ink releasing capabilities structured to stain or otherwise mark a garment or merchandise to which the security tag assembly 10 is attached.
Since many modifications, variations and changes in detail can be made to the described preferred embodiment of the invention, it is intended that all matters in the foregoing description and shown in the accompanying drawings be interpreted as illustrative and not in a limiting sense. Thus, the scope of the invention should be determined by the appended claims and their legal equivalents.
Now that the invention has been described,
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|Cooperative Classification||Y10T70/7057, Y10T70/7751, Y10T24/505, Y10T24/4614, Y10T70/5004, Y10T24/50, E05B73/0017, E05B39/002|
|20 Sep 2013||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: ES HOLDING DRAGOER APS, DENMARK
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:SKJELLERUP, JOHAN;STENILD, EDDIE L.;REEL/FRAME:031248/0659
Effective date: 20130715
Owner name: BRAEBUM ASSET HOLDINGS, LLC, BAHAMAS
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:SKJELLERUP, JOHAN;STENILD, EDDIE L.;REEL/FRAME:031248/0659
Effective date: 20130715
|19 Apr 2017||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4